Alveolar abnormalities are changes in the tiny air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli. Alveoli allow oxygen to enter the blood. They are very thin to let oxygen move from the lungs to the blood vessels, and for carbon dioxide to be removed from the blood vessels to the lungs.
Depending on the disease, alveoli may:
- Fuse together
- Develop thickened linings
- Fill with fluid
- Fill with blood
- Fill with pus
Albertine KH. Anatomy of the lungs. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 1.
Reynolds HY. Respiratory structure and function: mechanisms and testing. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 85.
Update Date 5/30/2013
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.